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7 Best Wood Routers 2020 – Top Picks & Reviews

person using Ryobi ONE+ P601 Wood Router

The first wood router was invented in 1884 by the American patternmaker Henry Cope. The original design was a manual tool that used a narrow blade to project past an open base. Since then, wood routers have undergone a lot of renovations and improvements, causing there to be a lot of options on the market, some of which are more expensive than others.

Since there are so many options available now, it can be difficult to decide which model is best for you, especially if you are on a budget. To make the process a little easier, we have compared the top options and compiled them into this comprehensive article. In this article, we offer reviews for the seven best budget wood routers under $100 and provide a buyer’s guide for convenience. Let’s dive right in.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Makita RT0701C 1-1/4 HP Compact Router Makita RT0701C 1-1/4 HP Compact Router
  • 25 HP motor
  • Electronic speed control
  • Variable speed dial from 10,000 to 30,000 RPM
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Bosch PR20EVS Router Tool Colt Palm Router Bosch PR20EVS Router Tool Colt Palm Router
  • Features a 1.0 horsepower 5.6 amp variable speed motor
  • Includes a bit changing system
  • Made from durable materials
  • Third place
    Avid Power MW104 Compact Router Avid Power MW104 Compact Router
  • Compact design for easy transportation and storage
  • Features a 6.6 amp motor with 1.25 horsepower
  • Comes with additional items
  • Ryobi ONE+ P601 Wood Router Ryobi ONE+ P601 Wood Router
  • Lightweight
  • Cordless
  • Compatible with several Ryobi batteries
  • Enertwist Compact Router Tool Enertwist Compact Router Tool
  • Includes a soft starting motor
  • Includes electronic feedback
  • Comes with several accessories
  • The 7 Best Budget Wood Routers under $100 – Reviews 2020

    1. Makita 1-1/4 HP Compact Router – Best Overall

    Makita RT0701C 1-1:4 HP Compact Router

    There’s not much to complain about when it comes to the Makita RT0701c, which is why we have named it our best overall pick. It is powerful, includes a variable speed dial, and feels comfortable to use.

    Notably, this Makita product is very powerful because of its 1.25 horsepower (HP) motor. It comes with a variable speed control dial that ranges from 10,000 to 30,000 RPM, which allows the user to match the speed to the specific application. It also comes with an electronic speed control that ensures the speed is maintained under load.

    Additionally, this model includes a smooth rack and pinion depth adjustment system, which ensures precise settings. It even comes with a quick-release cam lock system that allows for easy depth adjustments and base removal or installation. It features a soft start feature for smooth starts too.

    Finally, the Makita RT0701c is incredibly comfortable because of its slim and ergonomically designed body. It increases both comfort and control.

    Pros
    • 25 HP  motor
    • Variable speed dial from 10,000 to 30,000 RPM
    • Electronic speed control
    • Includes a smooth rack and pinion depth adjustment system
    • Includes a quick-release  cam lock system
    • Comfortable to use
    • Easy-to-use
    Cons
    • Can overheat with extended use

    2. Bosch Router Tool Colt Palm Router — Best Value

    Bosch PR20EVS Router Tool Colt Palm Router

    The second wood router for under $100 that we’re going to look at is the Bosch PR20EVS. This product is versatile, precise, and durable.

    It features a 1.0 HP, 5.6-amp variable-speed motor with speeds that range from 16,000 to 35,000 RPM. It provides enhanced bit capacity with a fixed base. This versatile bit changing system allows for fast and easy bit changes.

    Additionally, it has a precise depth adjustment system that allows both macro and micro-adjustments. All the while, the clamp system allows the motor to be easily adjusted or moved.

    Another notable feature of the Bosch PR20EVS is that it is made from durable materials. It has a rugged aluminum fixed base, which is durable, solid, and precise. It also comes with unique finger support pockets for comfort.

    The only reason why this product is ranked number two on our list, as opposed to number one, is that the depth adjustment is not as powerful as our top pick. It also suffers from weaker depth adjustment.

    Pros
    • Versatile
    • Features a 1.0 horsepower 5.6 amp variable speed motor
    • Includes a bit changing system
    • Made from durable materials
    Cons
    • Not powerful enough for all jobs
    • Weaker depth adjustment

    3. Avid Power MW104 Compact Router

    Avid Power MW104 Compact Router

    Another budget wood router under $100 is the Avid Power MW104 Compact Router. As the name suggests, this router is compact, all while being powerful and precise. It even comes with additional features such as a dust hood, bits, and more.

    The Avid Power MW104 Compact Router includes a 6.5-amp motor with a maximum horsepower of 1.25. It comes with a variable speed control dial that ranges from 10,000 to 32,000 RPM, which allows the user to choose the speed for intended materials.

    Additionally, the Avid Power MW104 is very precise because of the smooth rack and pinion depth adjustment system. It also comes with a dual bright LED light that illuminates the dark working areas, further ensuring precision and accuracy.

    Finally, the last notable feature of the Avid Power MW104 Compact Router is its compact design. It is designed for increased comfort and control, all while being easy to carry and transport.

    On the downside, users complained it is somewhat loud and it also does not fit standard template guides.

    Pros
    • Compact design for easy transportation and storage
    • Features a 6.6 amp motor with 1.25 horsepower
    • Includes a variable speed control dial from 10,000 to 32,000 RPM
    • Comes with additional items
    Cons
    • Runs loud
    • Does not fit standard template guides

    4. Ryobi ONE+ P601 Wood Router

    Ryobi ONE+ P601 Wood Router

    The next wood router on our list is the Ryobi ONE+ P601. This wood router Is cordless, highly comfortable, easy to use, and durable.

    Notably, the Ryobi ONE+ P601 has up to 29,000 RPM despite being cordless. It is suitable for a variety of Ryobi 18V lithium-ion batteries. Compatible battery models include the P100, P102, P103, P104, P105, P107, and P108.

    Additionally, the Ryobi ONE+ P601 comes with a depth adjustment knob, which allows you to fine-tune the depth of your cut with an easy-to-use knob. It also comes with a set of LED lights that will allow you to clearly see the project you are working on, further ensuring precision and accuracy.

    The Ryobi ONE+ P601 is also made from durable materials. It comes with an aluminum base, which allows the model to be both durable and compact enough for a variety of jobs.

    It does not, however, come with any accessories and the shank has a tendency to droop.

    Pros
    • Easy to use
    • Made from durable materials
    • Lightweight
    • Cordless
    • Compatible with several Ryobi batteries
    • Includes a depth adjustment knob
    Cons
    • Does not come with accessories
    • Shank droops

    5. Enertwist Compact Router Tool

    Enertwist Compact Router Tool

    The Enertwist Compact Router Tool is another great wood router for under $100. It is powerful and comes with variable speed. It includes a 7.0-amp, 1.25 HP motor that offers 6 variable speeds between 10,000 and 32,000 RPM. This allows the tool to be used for a variety of routing needs.

    More so, the Enertwist router is precise and gentle. It includes a soft starting motor and features full-time electronic feedback, which maintains the motor speed. It also includes a rack and pinion depth control for more precise cutting.

    Finally, the Enertwist Compact Router Tool comes with several tools as well. Notably, it comes with a cord, edge guide, roller guide, dust hood, collets, wrench, replacement carbon brushes, one-year warranty, and full-time customer service.

    With that being said, the Enertwist Compact Router Tool comes with some downsides as well. Users complained that this model is loud and vibrates a lot, which makes it lose some of its depth setting. Additionally, the clamp does not hold even when tightened.

    Pros
    • Includes 6 variable speeds
    • Includes a soft starting motor
    • Includes electronic feedback
    • Comes with several accessories
    Cons
    • Complaints of loudness
    • Vibrations loosen depth setting
    • Clamp does not hold

    6. Ryobi R1631K Fixed-Base Wood Router

    Ryobi R1631K Fixed-Base Wood Router

    The next wood router for under $100 on our list is the Ryobi R1631K Fixed-Base Wood Router. This router can cut up to 2 inches deep at 25,000 RPM. It includes an 8.5-ampere kit that includes ergonomic dual handles, built-in LED lighting, a quick lock depth adjustment button, and an integrated polyethylene chip card system.

    Unfortunately, this product has more cons than pros. It is not as powerful as most of the other routers on this list and does not include as many variable speeds. Additionally, it does not use normal bits and sizes like the other options. More so, the owner’s manual is extremely confusing, especially the section about the depth of cut. This can be difficult to use if you are a new user of wood routers.

    Pros
    • Includes LED lighting
    • Includes an integrated polyethylene chip card system
    Cons
    • Not as powerful as other options
    • Not suitable for regular-sized bits and collets
    • Confusing owner’s manual

    7.  Lotos ER001 Electric Plunge Wood Router

    Lotos ER001 Electric Plunge Wood Router

    Finally, the last wood router on our list is the Lotos ER001. This model comes with a durable AC motor with a maximum horsepower of 1.6. It also includes a variable speed control dial of 16,000 to 30,000 RPM. More so, it includes seven stop turrets for precise operation.

    Additionally, the Lotos ER001 works as both a plunge and a fixed router. It includes a plunging base that locks in a downward position that can function both as a plunge and a fixed router.

    Unfortunately, that is all the positives we can say about this model. Notably, the Lotos ER001 is not suitable for jobs that require a lower RPM. It does not include a soft start feature either. More so, it is one of the bulkier options on this list, making it unsuitable for those who need compactness.

    Pros
    • 6 HP  motor
    • Works as both a fixed and plunge router
    Cons
    • Not suitable for jobs that require lower RPM
    • Does not include a soft start feature
    • Bulky
    • Not compact

    Buyer’s Guide

    After considering our reviews, we hope that you have a better idea of what wood router to pick out. If you are still unsure which model to choose, do not fret. We have created this buyer’s guide to help you determine how to select the best router for your needs. Read on to find out more.

    Factors To Consider When Buying A Wood Router

    Whenever you buy a wood router, there are several factors to consider. These factors will help you to determine what router is best for you.

    1. Fixed Base vs. Plunge Router

    The first factor to consider when purchasing a wood router is whether or not you want a fixed base or a plunge router. Each type has pros and cons, and each is suitable for individual purposes and jobs. Let’s compare these two types of wood routers:

    • Fixed Base: A fixed based wood router comes with a stationary base. You will need to set a specific depth before working, and the depth will remain consistent while you are using the tool. They are ideal for edge cutting and straight-line precision. Fixed base routers are better for beginners.
    • Plunge Router: A plunge router includes a spring-loaded base. This will allow the bit depth to be changed while running the tool simply by unlocking the release system and moving the base. Plunge routers are better for cutting in the middle of a piece of wood, allowing them to be more versatile. At the same time, they are more expensive and more difficult to operate than fixed base routers.

    2.  Horsepower

    Another factor to consider when buying a wood router is the horsepower. The horsepower rating will tell you how powerful the tool is. The more powerful it is, the better it will be at pushing large bits through the wood. Most professionals recommend buying a wood router with 2.0 HP or more.

    using Avid Power MW104 Compact Router

    3. Variable Speed

    Variable speed is another factor to consider when purchasing a wood router. Some cheap routers only offer a single speed, which is good for using small bits. When using larger bits, you will need a lower speed. A variable speed router will allow you to change the speed of the router for your intended material and project. If you intend to use your router for a variety of projects, then it is recommended to go with a variable speed option.

    • Single Speed: Single speed means that the router has a single RPM rating. Routers with single speeds will be more cost-efficient and easier to use. It is ideal when you will only work on projects with small bits.
    • Variable Speed: Variable speed means that the router offers several speed options within the range of RPM. Variable speeds are better if you intend to use your router on larger bits since larger bits require a lower RPM.

    4. Comfortable Grip

    You should also consider the comfort of the grip whenever buying a wood router. If you find a wood router that is not comfortable to hold, it will be difficult to work with for long periods of time. In contrast, a comfortable router will allow you to work for a long time without any discomfort in your wrist or hands. This can optimize your performance and efficiency.

    5.  Additional Accessories

    Finally, the last factor to consider when buying wood routers is additional accessories. Although accessories may seem like a luxury, many of the accessories that come with wood routers are essential for performance and efficiency. For this reason, it is important to consider what accessories your router comes with.

    Here is a list of the most important accessories that you may need for your wood router as well as descriptions of each item:

    • Router Bits: router bits are used to create joints, grooves, and profiles. If you select a wood router that requires special bits, the special bits should come with the router. You may also want to consider buying dado, beading, cove, dovetail, chamfer and V groove bits.
    • Router Table and Fence: The router table and fence will allow the router to be secured. There are various types of router tables, such as the tabletop model, freestanding router, etc. Most fences come with router tables, which help to guide and ensure precision.
    • Router Jigs and Clamps: Router jigs are required to hold the wood in place when performing specific cuts. Clamps hold the wood to prevent any slipping. The clamps will also hold the jig to the work table so that way it does not move.

    Putting It Together

    If you are new to woodworking, look for a good quality, fixed base wood router that comes with a motor of around two horsepower with variable speed. As you get more experienced, you may want to upgrade to a plunge base, but that is not necessary for many jobs.

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    Conclusion

    After considering our various reviews and convenient buyer’s guide, we recommend selecting the Makita RT0701c. This router has a powerful motor with variable speed. It even has a comfortable grip and comes with additional accessories, ensuring the precision and functionality of the kit.

    If you are not sold on the Makita, then we recommend the Bosch PR20EVS. This model is also powerful, comfortable, and includes additional accessories, although it does not have the variety of variable speed as our top pick.

    We hope that this extensive review provides you clarity on which budget wood router to pick, making the process easier, less stressful, and more enjoyable.

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